Red-light cameras may come to Minneapolis

Do you throw your car into high gear at the sight of a yellow light, trying hard to make it before the light turns red? When police aren't around, do you boldly zip through red lights just after they change?

If so, city lawmakers have their sights set on you.

On July 28, City Councilmembers Dan Niziolek (10th Ward), Scott Benson (11th Ward) and Paul Ostrow (1st Ward) introduced an amendment to city law that would allow photographic traffic enforcement.

Other large cities, such as Denver and Dayton, Ohio use the technology, which snaps a photo of the license plate of a car running a red. A driver might not even know she or he has been caught on film until a ticket arrives in the mail.

Niziolek said the cameras pay for themselves, through the petty misdemeanor fines levied against the vehicle owner. (Parents of teenage drivers beware: the tickets are issued to the car's owner, not the driver.)

Niziolek said the camera system company keeps a small percentage of the ticket proceeds and the rest go to the city, but the exact amount has yet to be determined. If the amendment passes, Niziolek said he hopes to have the camera systems up and running by mid-2005.

The public will have a chance to comment on the proposal Aug. 25, 1:30 p.m. at City Hall Room 317, 350 S. 5th St.